Lessons learned after 5 years at Thespian

by Mihael Haluga, September 06, 2023
A lot has changed in the last five years at Thespian. We changed 3 offices, we worked remotely exclusively for a year during the pandemic, the team has grown from 4 members to 25 (and counting!), we have grown in expertise, and our partner portfolio has increased. Those changes are rather obvious for someone who was there as it was happening. But upon reflecting on my time in the last five years, I’ve also changed, through lessons and experiences listed here, while hacking away at my keyboard in the Thespian offices.
image3-min.png 268 KB


Accept the Challenge

As I look back on the time I decided to change jobs and move on, I’ve chanced upon Thespian and found just what I was looking for. A place where I was to start my Frontend developer journey in React. Mind you, I was already a Full Stack developer, on the Junior side, but with 2 years of experience juggling both Front-End and Back-End. In the previous company, I experienced what I thought was burnout, but what now I see was a desire to make things easier on myself. So, I’ve chosen my stack, moved on to React (from Vue), and started with Thespian, firmly determined to stay in that lane.
image2-min (1).png 288 KB


But fate wanted it differently. As you work in Web development you’ll quickly find out that being on any project, it is inevitable to take a peek on the other side, from front to back and vice versa. It is necessary for the project you are working on, as any dormant knowledge you have may be vital, as team members leave or are unavailable. Even in your chosen lane, you’ll constantly learn new stuff or even old frameworks, as legacy Javascript is lurking from all corners.

In the course of the years, one will discover that learning technology outside of your (desired) area of expertise will actually make you better at that same area because it will serve as a frame reference while learning something new, affirming it in your mind even more.

At times like that, you’ll probably feel like I did, like it is too hard and it would be better to quit to make things easier on yourself. But don’t quit when things get hard, the process of learning and adopting new technology will make your job easier down the line.
image5-min.png 219 KB


You will not choose your tech stack

As I mentioned, I wanted to work on the Front-End, preferably in React. I’ve ended up using it in a smaller proportion compared to other technologies, and most of them were of the Back-End variety. There is no grand conspiracy that will lead you to different paths, except for the ever-changing nature of any project you are working on.

Applications can get so large that they become unmaintainable in a single repository, so splitting them into smaller apps comes naturally, if only to extract the Front-End. At that point, an experienced developer needs to get involved and plan on how to do the separation with the rest of the team. Learning many new things starts to come naturally: microservices, Docker, Kubernetes, and much more that might lead you on the path to DevOps.
image1-min.png 247 KB


Maybe the problem of the project is not how big the application is, but how it handles an ever-increasing number of users. In such a case to solve the problem, you might need to learn a new language as the currently selected language and framework can’t handle the load without incurring large server expenditures. That is why the partner makes a switch to Elixir from Ruby on Rails, and the developer is suddenly on that path.

Even in your free time, you’ll probably decide to try the new hyped thing, or something that catches your eye, so you’ll catch yourself learning and steering yourself on a new lane. Let us say React Native, for example, was selected for no reason at all 🙂.

Or what could happen is all three things, as it did in my case. You become proficient in developing Back-End applications in Elixir, managing Kubernetes microservices, or making little mobile applications in React Native.

Visit the office

image6-min.png 301 KB

The context of a modern developer is being lonely at his keyboard, very likely working from his home office. Even before the pandemic, not every developer was willing to travel and meet his colleagues.

I would encourage everyone to take a chance and meet the faraway colleagues when the opportunity presents itself. That way the work will become more personable and thus easier. You’ll develop a shorthand with them when meeting them in person, you’ll hear them speak in a context outside of work and they will become more real than a simple square box on the screen.

Don’t miss coming to the office if your work-life situation allows, it will have all the benefits listed above and also give you the option to get real daily feedback and help (instead of you talking alone to a rubber duck). It will help you clear the tunnel vision when colleagues come to you for help and you’ll have more opportunities to learn.

The future

Who knows what the future holds, and what lessons will surprise me after the next five years. What I do know is that tomorrow I’ll happily come to the office, grab a coffee with my colleagues, and learn a few things that will help me do my job even better than yesterday.
image4-min.png 294 KB

About the author:
Author avatar
Mihael Haluga
Full Stack Developer
An avid reader of historical fiction, a retro gamer who can’t accept the always-on nature of modern games, a coder who likes to keep it simple and a rookie tech blogger.
Need help with Lessons learned after 5 years at Thespian? Contact us!